I am alone in the house for the first time in what seems like forever. I am not in the midst of any particular art-related busy work, nor have I any standout obligation from the mountain of to-do jobs. I'll go to a yoga class soon and spend an hour sweating to buy myself a few minutes of being a corpse without feeling guilt about it.
I remember summers when I was a kid that were hot and empty and dully boring in the best possible way. Nothing to do until we meandered our way into something that passed the day. And mine was an urban childhood, so not the romance of tree forts and swimming pools, but a bleak choice between the sweltering, deserted parking lot or staying indoors. But that emptiness was inspiration.
"Being busy" feels so fetishized. Does it make us think that we are in demand and important, or that if we stay frantic enough things will change for the better? Is it a desperate hamster wheel against the horrors of our current political landscape? Or a way to distract from the splatter on the windscreen, the knowledge of mortality, aging, powerlessness? But making art for me thrives on boredom and emptiness and even pointlessness and begins to happen with enough open space and the subsequent slowing of perception.
My husband told me this morning that it has turned out that all those mindfulness trainings in the corporate workplace do not create a more focused workforce, but in fact radicalize employees to where they can notice how meaningless their work really is. Whoops. Getting in touch with boredom is radicalizing.